Book Review: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

I almost missed work because of this book.

I started reading The Fairytale Detectives on a particularly rainy day while sipping on a mug of hot Earl Grey tea. By the first few pages and the first crack of thunder from outside, I was sucked into the book.  I only wish I could mean that literally.

The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm #1)

Released: August 2007
Publisher: Amulet Books
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The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley

For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life has not been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother–a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy tale detectives.

My Thoughts

Ferryport Landing may seem like just a quaint New York town to the unobserving eye, but it is home to the Everafters (fairytale characters). Michael Buckley recreated a big cast of memorable fairytale characters; each one had their unique quirks and personality. Sabrina and her younger sister, Daphne, learn their Granny Relda and her faithful companion, Mr. Canis, are responsible for keeping magical shenanigans from getting too far out of hand. And, since the young girls have been reunited with family, that responsibility is now theirs too.

The youngest of the girls, Daphne, is downright adorable. She has such a bright and positive outlook on life despite all the negative experiences she’s had. I wish I could say the same for Sabrina, who seems a little too cynical for such a young girl. At times, her cynicism tried my patience, but as the story progressed, she slowly came to terms with her new life. I look forward to reading about Sabrina in the rest of the series because I don’t think she’ll be as negative. She did a lot of growing in book one.

Aside from being filled to the brim with magical characters, The Fairytale Detectives is also action-packed! As soon as Granny Relda and company discover evidence of a dangerous giant poking around in town, the book does not slow down. There are wild police chases, jail breaks, mortal peril, and covert operations (just to name a few)!

My only concern with The Sisters Grimm series is the idea of a Grimm Fairytale is rather broad. Based on the title, readers will expect nothing but characters collected by the Grimm brothers to be in the book, but that is not the case. Buckley also includes magical characters from Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare, Lewis Carrol, and Hans Christian Anderson. Initially, this did bother me because Puck and Alice are not from Grimm fairy tales. It’s misleading! And, I wondered how many youngsters were going to be familiar with Puck from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I did find, by the end of the book I didn’t mind. Grimm fairy tales or not, they were integrated well into the story, and many of them were likeable.

Overall, I adored this book! Setting the book down with only 80 pages to go just so I wasn’t late for work was difficult to do. I cannot wait to get back to the library to check out the rest from this series. Especially since The Fairytale Detectives ended on a cliffhanger! While the girls are busy solving mysteries in Ferrypoint Landing with Granny Relda, their mysterious past is slowly revealed. Now, I’m dying to know about the significance of the red handprint!